The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Pakistan was among countries from whom the international community should learn how to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a media briefing said Pakistan deployed the infrastructure built up over many years for polio to combat Covid-19. “Community health workers who have been trained to go door-to-door vaccinating children for polio have been utilised for surveillance, contact tracing and care,” he said.
“There are many other examples, including Cambodia, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Spain and Vietnam. Many of these countries have done well because they learned lessons from previous outbreaks of SARS, MERS, measles, polio, Ebola, flu and other diseases. That’s why it’s vital that we all learn lessons this pandemic is teaching us,” he said. Former Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza told Dawn it was the recognition of Pakistan’s effort at the international level.Dr Mirza in a tweet stated: “Pakistan included among seven countries by WHO Director General- countries that the world can learn from about how to fight future pandemics. Great honour for the people of Pakistan. Alhamdolilah.”
The virus was first detected in China in December 2019 and then it started spreading in other countries. Pakistan had closed its borders and took a number of steps to stop the transmission due to which the first case of Covid-19 was reported in the last week of February. On March 13, the first meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) was held to discuss the crisis which was later declared pandemic by WHO.Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the meeting of NSC and directed the concerned authorities to devise a comprehensive strategy to prevent the spread of the disease.A lockdown was announced on March 16 and a number of industries, including the construction industry, educational institutions, restaurants, marriage halls etc were closed.